• Winging It!

“Amazing weather, which brought us a record attendance at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters,” were the effusive words from Jennifer Montgomery of Friends of City Park about the recent Lark in the Park,

An always-popular fundraiser, it was held in the New Orleans Botanical Garden of City Park. Social flight started with the VIP Party in the Rose Garden for an hour and then Lark itself from 8-11 p.m.

Proceeds raised will benefit the expansion of the Botanical Garden Conservatory, which, once completed, will be the site for exhibits, lectures, weddings, school trips and much more. During the course of the lively evening, social “proceeds” were numerous.

Emily Ostuw Shaya and Kuffa Jones – husbands Alon and Ryan were out of town on business – chaired the lively Lark that marqueed Anne Abbott (with Herschell) and David Waller (with Barbara) as honorary chairmen. As respective Presenting and Car Raffle sponsors, the names to know were Capital One Bank (Kristen Nosser) and Bryan Subaru (Jay and Pam Bryan). More within the donor/sponsor set were Walt Navoy, Margo and Clancy DuBos, Terry and Lynette Dufrene, Holley Haag, Lynne Burkart, Joseph and Dianne Caverly, Sally Duplantier, Larry and JoAnn Katz, Sue and Mike Guarisco, Mike and Nancy Marsiglia, Joey and Buzzy Brown, Bill and Leslie Kramer, Larry and Mary Antonini, Dick and Dot Piner, Jackie and Bruce Shreves, Rodger and Gretchen Wheaton, Corrinne and Richard Mestayer, Dan A. Robin Jr., Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman, the Robert Azars, Patrick Templeman, and the Michael Kimbles.

From the City Park Improvement Association came President Susan Hess with Bill, the above Abbotts, Laura Claverie with Philip, Bill Hoffman with Denise, Michael Hollis, Paul Masinter with Renee, Britton Sanderford, and Edmund Schrenk with Kathy.

“Party in the Park” was the 2016 theme, and, boy, was it realized. Starting with the VIP shoulder-rubbing, which was located in the Lord & Taylor Rose Garden, Emeril’s New Orleans fed the flock and the Young Pinstripe Brass Band entertained.

On to the gala in the Botanical Garden and the Pavilion, comfort and conviviality combined, thanks to the Party Flock Lounge Area with furniture by West Elm, as well as two VIP Sponsor Tents and Piano Bar, both with furniture by Prêt a Fête. Savory delectables came from more than 40 restaurants, including the VIP Sponsor Restaurant, Shaya, which served up tasty lamb kebabs. Attracting the eye were the Iris Floral and Design centerpieces, along with the party décor done with a “China Lights” flair by Erin Raizk and Tabya Race. The aural excitement was generated by Piano Bar performer Brian Coogan, as well as Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs.

Going for the $-green were the live auction and raffles. Top contributors were chef/restaurateur Alon Shaya, five culinary packages (including a pizza-making class) at Domenica; Kelly Boyet, a live painting; and a musical festival package with some top names.

Along with the raffle car donated by Bryan Subaru was an Ebel woman’s watch, with thanks to Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry.

From Friends of City Park were President Jackie Palumbo with Vincent, Mary Johnson with Keith, Kimberly Zibilich with Keith, Tania Hahn, Karen DeBlieux with Peter, Adam McNeil, Annie Thibodeaux with Paul, Leigh Morgan Thorpe, Karen Adjmi, Lauren Kenney and David, Larry Dale and Connie, Patrick Galloway, Jeanie Favret, Helen Young and Tim, Kathleen Smith and Tom, and Lana Lovick and Grayson.

“A magical evening” described the bash that will have a social reincarnation on March 10, 2017. Lark-ers will again take flight.

  • Sybaris Revisited

Associated with the ancient port city of Sybaris, in Magna Graecia, which was known for its delights and love of pleasure, a distaff group called Sybarites was founded in New Orleans decades ago to dance the night away. Coincidentally, the town of Sybaris was located within the arch of the “boot” in the extreme south of Italy. Thus a precedent of feats of feet was established.

Now, in 2016, the Sybarites enjoy an annual dance and a few other yearly get-togethers, such as the fall luncheon at Commander’s Palace and a spring meeting/dinner. Throughout the year, good comradeship prevails.

Getting a seasonal jump, Sybarites headed to Arnaud’s for Spring Soiree 2016. “Arnaud’s really outdid themselves,” said Sybarites President Colleen McLeod, who attended with husband Marty. Passed hors d’oeuvres, various food stations, and sweet touches filled the food bill. Floral accents got a vernal nod and a plethora of compliments.

For added fun, guests queued up for flip book photos, adding props for visual lagniappe.

Among the many making rounds were the McLeods, President-elect Mendy Barry with Michael, Secretary Celese Eustis with Curtis (Colleen’s brother), Treasurer Kay McArdle, and immediate past President, now ex-officio, Dana Hansel with Steve. Also Arnaud’s proprietor Katy Casbarian, Holly and Fred Mentz, Denise and Bill Galloway, Nancy and Michael Walshe, Mathilde and Richard Currence, Yvette (Mrs. Michael) Semmes and daughter Mathilde, Julie and Patrick Calhoun, Helen and Tim Young, Andree and Jay Batt, Marjorie and Scott Schlesinger, Susan and Ed Colton, Jennifer and Tanker St. Paul, Elizabeth and David Woolverton, and lots more.

Party City Band (formerly Luv Sexy Band) delivered a gamut of sounds that packed the floor (except during their break) and, with their soulful, funky style of music, made night moves sybaritically so.

  • The Green Scene

Get out your palettes! “Paint the Town Green” bannered the invitation sent by Raintree Children & Family Services for its annual two-locations fundraising. Ruth’s Chris Steak House was the first stop, and designated for the patrons, and Harrah’s Theater, the second, for the general gallivanting. During the patrons’ round, an open bar, charbroiled oysters from Drago’s and delicious hors d’oeuvres from Ruth’s Chris were a hit.

The party moved nearby to Harrah’s Theater, where 10 purveyors, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Arnaud’s, sated the collective Raintree palate.

Among the evening’s many features were the laureling of artist James Michalopolous for his years of dedication to Raintree; emcees Mark Romig and Raintree board member Lana Duke; and a live auction with a Saints Experience Package, Michalopoulos artwork, and a David Yurman necklace donated by Aucoin Hart. Silent auction bidding netted a Las Vegas hotel stay, restaurant gift cards, and jewelry from Mignon Faget.

Cindy Paulin (with Ron) and Debra Guastella chaired the bash with Debra wearing another hat: decorations chairwoman. Beautiful trees with lights sprouting out of green paint cans were her clever work.

Deborah “Debbie” Alciatore-Empey (with John Empey) and Connie Kitchen (with Tom) teamed to chair the auction. Joined by Kathleen, John Stassi (The Magnolia Foundation) was the presenting sponsor.

More notables were Raintree board President Scott Howard with Janet, executive director LaShawna Schofield with husband Derrick Bennett, Kenny Malter (Atmos), Price LeBlanc (Lexus of New Orleans) with Christine, Dr. Kamran and Jila Khoobehi, Sid Lewis (Jones Walker), John and Virginia Eckholdt, and Gregory and Stacey Ricks.

Music by the Yat Pack was an enticement scripted on the invitation. And folks responded with (almost) “everyone dancing the night away.”

  • Around and About

Music lovers were indulged on a recent Sunday when violinist/artist-in-residence Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the Loyola Chamber Orchestra (with Dr. Jean Montes, director of Orchestral Studies) wowed the audience at the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall. The presenters of “An Afternoon of Passionate Music” were Loyola University College of Music and Fine Arts and the Montage Fine & Performing Arts Series.

Hours later, and in concert, tenor Bryan Hymel, a Loyola alumnus, performed “Love Infinite” with soprano Irini Kyriakidou, his wife, at Temple Sinai to benefit The Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn – Rabbi Emeritus Chair of Temple Sinai and the Cantor Colman Concert Fund of Temple Sinai.

Both concerts rated superlatives and huge ovations, included many of the same attendees, and concluded with receptions.